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At a meeting of the European Union on aging phenomena of different fuel cells it was indicated that up to now no fuel cell type has been able to fulfill service life expectations. The goals of 5,000 operating hours for membrane fuel cells in automobiles and 40,000 operating hours for solid oxide or molten carbonate fuel cells in stationary power and heat coupling applications have not yet been achieved. In bus operation the required 5,000 operating hours are almost achieved with membrane fuel cells with which in passenger car operation 2,000 to 3,000 operating hours are now a reality. Stationary facilities based on molten carbonate fuel cells with 30,000 hours approach the sought for goal. A survey covers introduction; hydrogen fuel cells for the electric automobile; stationary fuel cells; direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC) technology (typical areas of use; hybrid systems; simple operation); solid oxide fuel cells for residential energy supply; molten carbonate fuel cells commercialization status (status quo in Asia, Europe, and North America); and Trend 2008. Carbonate fuel cell power generation capacity is about 20 Mw and increasing globally. To date over 80 power plants have been placed at customer sites in the USA, Europe, and Asia. In the coming year it will become clearer as to whether hydrogen fuel cells will have a not inconsiderable future for automobiles. The direct methanol fuel cell will be further developed and new uses will be found for low outputs. Whether fuel cells in the Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) will be successful is still to be seen. However, it is probable that solid oxide fuel cells will be of interest in low power facilities of 1 to 10 kw for this application. Following the successful introduction of the high temperature membrane, fuel cells for residential energy use must develop a higher service life and lower production cost. Fuel cells are expected to operate in base load and not in thermal need sequences. The sector of biogas electrification has a suitable useful area of 250 kw to 5 Mw output for the molten carbonate fuel cell. Longer service life and lower investment costs will be decisive for the future success of this technology. The development of solid oxide fuel cells has not yet in 2008 led to decisive success for the future success of this technology. Fuel cells are of interest to supply on-board energy for ships such as in the ship Viking Energy in the "Fellowship" project using a molten carbonate fuel cell.




Wendt, H., Schramm, U., Nerlich, V., Schuler, A., & Farooque, M. (2008). Brennstoffzellen. BWK - Energie-Fachmagazin, 60(4), 159–166.

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